For this quesiton, I'm asking for RAW rulings.

Let's say you have a "standard" illusion over a pit, and the character believes it's real; does it support weight? (Typically the answer would be no, because it wasn't meant to, and belief means nothing — unlike the "Skittles" commercial of the people sitting on the Rainbow)

But what happens if the illusion is semi-real? How real can the shadowstuff that makes an illusion be made? I know it's real enough to damage others, but is it real enough to withstand weight?

What happens if someone is on this illusory area covering the pit when the illusion expires? Or it simply vanishes from existence and the unlucky sap drops below?

Or am I not seeing the whole picture here?


1 Answer 1


The answer to your question is - there is more than one kind of illusion.

Glamers and figments change your senses, so they can't hold up weight. Characters trying to stand on them will fall through (and immediately disbelieve, since they have proof the illusion was a fake).

A figment spell creates a false sensation...

A glamer spell changes a subject’s sensory qualities...

Because figments and glamers are unreal, they cannot produce real effects the way that other types of illusions can.

Shadows can hold up weight just fine.

A shadow spell creates something that is partially real from extradimensional energy. Such illusions can have real effects.

However, some shadow spells can be partially disbelieved, in which case there is a % chance that the object doesn't "work" and the creature falls through. See shadow conjuration:

Shadow objects or substances have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they are 20% likely to work.

Patterns and phantasms affect the mind directly. These illusions can make someone believe they are standing on the floor, while in reality they have fallen down a pit.

Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it.

A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects.

For any non-instantaneous spell, the effect disappears once the duration ends. Regardless of what kind of spell was creating the bridge (illusion, conjuration, evocation, what have you) the creature standing on it will fall in the hole.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So can a caster tell his teammates to deliberately fail their save against an effect to be able to cross a chasm they've made a semi-real bridge to cross? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 7, 2016 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JesseCohoon While, for example, the spell greater shadow conjuration can simulate major creation to make a bridge, I'm pretty sure a Wiz13 has a better way than using her top-level spell to get her buddies across a chasm (cf. dimension door). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 7, 2016 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bonus points for putting a sign halfway across the shadow bridge telling those who are crossing that the bridge isn't real... \$\endgroup\$
    – Perkins
    Jul 7, 2016 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ No bonus points - you get a save against an illusion as soon as you interact with it, and standing on it is interacting with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Jul 7, 2016 at 20:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that many glamours don't actually allow saving throws to disbelieve; You continue to perceive the illusion even if you know it's an illusion. Invisibility is the classic example: You can be perfectly aware there's an invisible creature in the room, and even grapple it, but you can't make a saving throw to see it. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Jul 8, 2016 at 3:51

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